In my book, Mikey Garcia already deserves to rank inside of boxing’s pound-for-pound top 10. The undefeated Garcia is 36-0 with 30 KOs and has been a dominant fighter in three different divisions, holding alphabet-soup titles at featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight.
In January 2013 he knocked down Orlando Salido four times en route to an eight-round technical decision, to capture the WBO featherweight belt. The following November he knocked out Roman Martinez to win the WBO super featherweight title. Martinez and Salido have ranked among the upper-end of the 126 and 130 pound divisions for most of the last decade and were both still in their primes when Martinez blasted them. He had yet to turn 25.
Garcia’s career stalled out from January 2014 until July 2016, when he stayed out of the ring while battling his former promoter, Top Rank, in the courts. That kind of time on the couch can be impossible to come back from, but Garcia does not seem to have lost a step. Last January he knocked out Dejan Zlaticanin in just three rounds, to win the WBC lightweight title.
Zlaticanin was undefeated at the time, with wins over contenders like Ricky Burns and Petr Petrov. He was universally viewed as a top-three fighter at 135 pounds. Garcia chewed him up and spit him out.
Garcia has what is unquestionably the biggest fight of his career this Saturday night, when he faces Adrien Broner in Brooklyn. While Garcia has never been less than outstanding in the ring, Broner has at time under achieved. Still, this promises to be a tough bout for Garcia. Broner is used to fighting opponents who are bigger than Garcia. Garcia has carried his power from 126 all the way to 135 pounds. But he’ll be fighting Broner at 140. Broner has a solid chin and will not be easy to knock out.
I do expect Garcia to win, though. And this should be his entry into some of the biggest fights in the sport over the next few years.